CFP RGS-IBG 2012: Geography and Post-phenomenology

A call for papers for a session at the upcoming RGS-IBG conference in Edinburgh being organised by James Ash and myself…

Feel free to post/email me if anyone reading this is interested or has any questions…

‘Geography and Post-phenomenology’

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, 3rd – 5th July 2012, Edinburgh

Session conveners: James Ash (Northumbria) and Paul Simpson (Plymouth)

Sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

Geographers for some time now have been interested in phenomenology – the school of thought which, described most simply, can be defined as an approach which “tries to give a direct description of our experience as it is, without taking account of its psychological origin and the causal explanations which the scientist, the historian or the sociologist may be able to provide” (Merleau-Ponty 2002: vii). Most evidently, this interest could be seen in the humanistic geographies of the 1970s and early 80s. However, recently there has been something of a (re)turn to phenomenology in geography under the development of what has been called a ‘post-phenomenology’. As the title suggests, there is something distinct about this emerging engagement with phenomenology. This distinction comes in that this work has re-read phenomenological texts and ideas, often through the lens of post-structural writers such as Deleuze, Derrida and Levinas, and, in so doing, has aimed to “extend the boundaries of the phenomenological focus upon the experiencing subject” (Lea 2009). As such, this engagement with phenomenology has been less embracing of phenomenological ideas than the previous engagements mentioned above, but also, more specifically, there has been a move away from the assumption of a subject which exists prior to experience towards an examination of the ways in which the subject comes to be in or through experience. While humanist geographies were interested in the experiencing subject and how felt experience is both constitutive of, and constituted by, place (Lea 2009), now post-phenomenological geographies are interested in the trans-human and thus the decentring of the experiencing subject. This re-figures experience in terms of an experiencing ‘with’ the world rather than an experiencing ‘of’ the world (Wylie 2006).

This session aim to bring together geographers interested in such critical engagements with phenomenology so as to consolidate this developing area and set agendas for its future development and pursuit.

We welcome submissions on any aspect of this theme, but would particularly encourage papers which:

– Critically engage with specific phenomenological conceptions of subjectivity and intersubjectivity
– Explore themes of perception and sensory experience, particularly in terms ‘other’ senses (smell, taste, hearing, etc.)
– Elaborate understandings of phenomenality and appearance
– Explore the relationship between phenomenology and speculative realism and object-oriented ontologies
– Critique phenomenology as a form of idealism
– Question the residual subjectivism / humanism of phenomenology
– Respond to the purported ‘bodilessness’ of certain strands of phenomenology
– Explore the situation of gender in phenomenological thought
– Address the lack of attention paid to the socialization of body-subjects in phenomenological work

Expressions of interest and abstracts should be emailed to both James Ash ( and Paul Simpson ( by Friday 13th January 2012 [PLEASE NOTE – DEADLINE NOW 20th JANUARY].


About Paul Simpson

I am currently a lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University. I've previously lectured at Plymouth University, and again at Keele before that. I completed my PhD (titled 'Ecologies of Street Performance: Bodies, Affects, Politics') at the University of Bristol in 2009.
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5 Responses to CFP RGS-IBG 2012: Geography and Post-phenomenology

  1. sarakoopman says:

    can’t come but curious – what’s that wylie citation?

  2. Paul Simpson says:

    Reference is too:
    Wylie, J.W. (2006). Depths and Folds: on Landscape and the Gazing Subject. Environment and Planning D Society and Space, 24(4), 519-535

  3. Pingback: An eventful start to 2012… | Paul Simpson Geography

  4. Rafael Ferreira says:

    Muito Bom!!

  5. Pingback: RGS-IBG session – Geography and Post-phenomenology | Paul Simpson Geography

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